One minute review
The Oppo Reno 6 Pro is its flagship smartphone for the latter half of 2021, coming only 6 months after its predecessor. With a slight design and specification refresh, there is not much more to the smartphone.
Amongst its competition, its optics are stand-out. Especially in low-light situations, the smartphone’s 50MP Sony IMX766 primary camera rarely fails to deliver. Coupling that with the Oppo Reno 6 Pro’s AI-powered video capabilities and you find a package that eases social media creation.
However, performance is not always ideal. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G chip on-board is a capable one however its performance is inconsistent. Often, the smartphone suffers from pauses, and more frequently than expected, it overheats. This has not been a problem on the Motorola Edge 20 Pro, a direct competitor to the Oppo Reno 6 Pro so seeing it here is a mystery.
Ultimately, the Oppo Reno 6 Pro is all about a good multimedia and camera experience. But its predecessor was already quite capable in those areas and there really isn't much here to warrant a new model- especially at the price Oppo is asking for it.
Oppo Reno 6 Pro price and availability
- Available now
- Costs AED 2,999 with pre-order bonuses
The Oppo Reno 6 Pro is the highest end offering in its 2021 Reno lineup, aiming to provide an unrestricted camera and multimedia experience in a stand-out design. However, its AED 2,999 price tag is asking for a lot, especially given that it is a very incremental upgrade from its predecessor in the Oppo Reno 5 Pro from just six months ago. The only noticeable differences come in design and internal specifications, with the latter surprisingly making the user experience worse off.
Granted, at this price tag, you get additional accessories like Oppo’s True Wireless W32 headphones and a mobile stand; however despite this, the Oppo Reno 6 Pro might be a difficult sell.
It is not unique enough to tempt current Oppo Reno 5 Pro users to upgrade especially without an official exchange program and with competition like the Motorola Edge 20 Pro providing similar specifications at a cheaper price point, the only way the Oppo Reno 6 Pro could exceed expectations is if Oppo starts to offer larger discounts or stronger incentives to buy the smartphone in the next couple of months.
- Thinner and lighter than most smartphones
- Premium Oppo ‘Reno Glow’ textured finish
- No official IP rating
The premium build and finish of the Oppo Reno 6 Pro is apparent right from when you pick it up. It sports a metal frame that encases a glass back featuring Oppo’s updated ‘Reno Glow’ textured finish. The microscopic texture adds grip to the back of the smartphone enabling better grip and fingerprint resistance. However, compared to last year’s finish, we find that this year is more about making the smartphone’s appearance look better than its actual functionality.
At 7.99mm and approximately 188g, the Oppo Reno 6 Pro is also a very manageable smartphone in one hand. Compared to its competition, it is slightly narrower allowing even people with smaller hands to reach the corner of the device easily. Buttons are comfortable and premium to press, with the power button on the right edge and the volume rocker on the left.
There are no other surprises as far as other hardware elements are concerned. The rear camera unit bulges out a bit making for a wobbly affair on a flat surface whereas the bottom edge of the smartphone houses the dual nano-SIM tray, the Type-C USB port for charging, the primary microphone and one part of the strong stereo speaker experience. On the top edge, you just find a secondary noise cancelling microphone and no extras like a 3.5mm headphone jack or an IR blaster.
With the Oppo Reno 6 Pro boasting an AMOLED panel, the fingerprint scanner also sits within the display. It is easy to reach, fast and reliable so we have no complaints here. And while this would be the perfect design for a smartphone from Oppo, a notable omission is IP water and dust resistance. The rubber seals around the dual nano-SIM tray will provide some degree of resistance but Oppo does not officially state this. For a smartphone at its given price, this omission is quite a big one and naturally makes you a bit apprehensive when using the smartphone in dusty conditions or near a water source.
- Vibrant, bright and immersive screen
- Curved design
- OLED colors with a 90Hz refresh rate
The Oppo Reno 6 Pro packs a 20:9 6.5-inch AMOLED display with a 1,080 x 2,400 resolution, a 180Hz touch sampling rate and a 90Hz refresh rate. Its deep colors and strong contrast levels are inherent properties of an OLED panel which make multimedia consumption an absolute pleasure. We used it to stream the new season of Money Heist and details, especially in darker areas of scenes were extremely well portrayed thanks to HDR10+ certification. It also helps that the panel boasts up to a 1,100 nit peak brightness which is great for usage in sunny conditions.
Oppo offers a good selection of options when it comes to tweaking display preferences to your needs. For example, its ‘Vivid’ mode fulfils the DCI-P3 color gamut which is what we stuck to, however you do get a ‘Gentle’ mode with sRGB colors. The latter makes for slightly duller looking colors compared to the display’s default color mode which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Moreover, you can also adjust the screen color temperature of the display although we stuck to Oppo’s default tuning.
The display also has a proprietary video color enhancer mode called the ‘O1 Ultra Vision Engine’. Using this, general SDR content is converted to HDR for a better visual experience. However, we found its effect to be overpowering which typically resulted in saturated colors. While this was not to our preference, some people may enjoy this extra pop to visuals especially if they are watching content involving a large variation in color.
Given the 90Hz refresh rate of the AMOLED display, it is unsurprising to see that content flows well on the Oppo Reno 6 Pro. Whether it is animations or scrolling through elements, you will not see choppy motion. But something you may experience is unresponsiveness. which we will get to in a later section, but here, we are referring to unresponsiveness due to the curvature of the display. There is no doubt that the 3D curve gives users a more immersive experience however, it is at a cost. At times we found that the display not responding due to our palms touching the side.
- Capable primary camera sensor
- Stellar low-light performance
- Selfie camera leaves a lot to be desired
The Oppo Reno 6 Pro has an AI-powered quad-camera setup. Its primary camera is a 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor assisted by a 16MP ultra-wide-angle camera, a 13MP telephoto lens and an additional 2MP macro sensor.
Right off the bat, the main camera takes some good images with excellent detail in good light. However, one thing you will need to keep in mind is the camera sensor’s tendency to over-saturate colors. Especially with greens, blues and reds, the sensor tries to sway color accuracy in order to make them more appealing via the added vibrancy.
To be honest though, this is not a big deal. Often, a few touches on Snapseed or Adobe Photoshop after the image has been taken should take care of colors to a large extent. And this is because the core photo the sensor takes is excellent. Even when it comes to dynamic range processing and highlight retention, there are no issues that stick out particularly.
But as soon as you start using the other lenses, a major drawback of the camera system comes into play. Color calibration between the wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lenses is not consistent, which is natural given the different hardware on-board. However, this weighs down on the entire camera experience. While the main camera goes for naturally cooler colors, the ultra-wide-angle camera makes them even cooler, almost adding a hue of blue across the image. Contrastingly, the telephoto lens favors warmer tones.
As for actual detail, the ultra-wide-angle camera shows quite a noticeable drop-off. The sharpness and clean detail from the main camera is replaced by subdued colors and softer detail. We are not saying the ultra-wide-angle camera is unusable however we expected a bit better. Moreover, there is also a hint distortion in images which is more evident when taking pictures of bridges or roads. As you get closer to a subject with the ultra-wide-angle lens, distortion on the edges becomes more pronounced.
Moving to the telephoto lens, it gives you a fair bit of room to play with. Compared to the main camera, 2x optical zoom makes for little to no loss in detail. So, if you find yourself further from a subject, this should be able to handle things just fine. However, beyond this zoom limit, detail loss becomes more evident. The camera setup sports 5x hybrid zoom however it is not the same as 5x optical zoom. Detail is considerably lowered with softer edges. Pictures at this zoom range are still not unusable for social media but if you intend on printing them or displaying them, the level of detail here will not be adequate.
Finally, you find a 2MP macro camera on Oppo Reno 6 Pro. With enough lighting, the macro camera can give you some satisfactory results. But quite frankly, it is not something we are a huge fan of. With the much better 16MP ultra-wide-angle camera, Oppo could have easily implemented a macro function via that lens. This would have led to much better detail in macro images but alas, this is not the route Oppo has gone.
While this quad-camera combination works well in good lighting conditions, in lower light, the stand-out lens to use is the main 50MP sensor. We found that it manages indoor colors and lighting well. But switching lenses here leads to noise especially in the darkest areas of the scene. Oppo does bundle a night mode along with all the lenses of the smartphone, but we found it works best using the main camera. Some of the pictures the sensor captured were genuinely astonishing and having shared them on social media, a lot of people asked whether they were captured on a DSLR-camera.
We think the prowess of the Oppo Reno 6 Pro is low-light performance. Not just with photos, but also with video capture. The camera unit can capture up to 4K 60fps video footage that remains reasonably stable when walking briskly. In a vehicle, the level of stabilization from the camera lenses diminishes and that is where you can use Oppo’s ‘Ultra Stable’ mode. While recordings are capped at 1080p 60fps here, it does give you more flexibility when moving around.
Likewise, for video in more challenging situations, Oppo bundles an ‘AI Highlight Video’ mode. This leverages the camera’s AI capabilities to use algorithms like ‘Live HDR’ or ‘Ultra Night Mode’. Using these, dynamic range in a scene with a sunset is better preserved and details at night are more pronounced. But in using this mode, we felt the Oppo Reno 6 Pro excessively brightens up colors during the night. It makes them look abnormal given the mode raises ISO levels which naturally also means more noise in the footage being captured.
To round up on the camera experience, you find a 32MP punch-hole style selfie camera. While its detail and dynamic range retention is good, we are not a fan of it just because of how Oppo handles processing. It tends to artificially brighten up both images and videos making for unnatural looking colors. While there is a market for this look, it is not something that we like in our selfies.
Software and performance
- Oppo’s Color OS 11.3 is largely unobtrusive
- Inconsistent performance
- Questionable thermal management
A large reason to upgrade to the Oppo Reno 6 Pro over its predecessor is the processing power on the smartphone. It features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G chip alongside 12GB of RAM and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage. While its storage configuration cannot be expanded, its RAM can via Oppo’s ‘RAM expansion’ feature.
Using this, you will be able to add either 3GB, 5GB or 7GB of extra RAM on the smartphone. We feel with 12GB already on-board, this is a bit overkill however for extremely demanding users, it might be worth it. We have also seen some benefits of this feature, especially when the smartphone is able to keep a lot of applications opened days ago in memory.
But performance with the Oppo Reno 6 Pro is infuriating. On the one hand, RAM is managed well. But it seems that the processor on-board is not able to keep up with the usage. For example, we often found the smartphone to pause when browsing between applications. Using Chrome or Twitter, the applications remained unresponsive with the only way to fix this being a force close. Moreover, it is during these pauses that the Oppo Reno 6 Pro overheats.
Towards the central region of the smartphone as well as near the camera housing, the smartphone becomes abnormally hot to touch. If you continue to use it, it stays that way. We found that one sure shot way to fix this was to keep the phone idle for 10-15 minutes and clear all background applications.
Naturally, the overheating issue also popped up when gaming. When you initially boot up a game like PUBG: Mobile or Asphalt 9, performance is good. But over time, the smartphone heats up leading to choppy and inconsistent frames when there is a lot going on in the game. We are particularly surprised by this given Oppo’s extensive thermal solutions on the smartphone. It claims to have a multi-cooling system with an ultra-large vapor chamber although we were unable to see its real-world benefits.
We know that software on a smartphone makes up the entire user experience however in the Oppo Reno 6 Pro’s case, we are confident that it is not software that is causing these issues, only because the smartphone’s predecessor did not give us any of these issues.
On-board, the Oppo Reno 6 Pro runs Color OS 11.3 on top of Android 11. Over the years, Oppo’s skin has become less obtrusive, and it shows. The little bloatware that comes pre-installed with the smartphone can be uninstalled and some of the additional features the skin provides are excellent. We love the native video editor in the gallery, the ability to customize the look and feel of the smartphone via themes and the smart sidebar for quick access to tools like screen recording or translating elements on screen.
Thus far, we have received two software updates on our Oppo Reno 6 Pro, going up to the August 2021 Android security patch. And over both updates, we yet to see fixes for the inconsistent performance we have faced. Hopefully, in the next updates to come, Oppo addresses these issues if they are indeed caused by a software optimization issue.
- 4,500mAh battery capacity
- Below-average battery backup
- 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 charging gets you a full charge in 29 minutes
- No wireless charging
The 4,500mAh battery on the Oppo Reno 6 Pro can be considered above average in size given the form factor of the smartphone. But its battery performance is not great.
On a typical day that starts at around 7:30AM, we found the Oppo Reno 6 Pro to be at 34% at 3:00PM. By around 5:00PM, this dipped to 14%. Given this performance, it is difficult to get through a long day on a single charge on the Oppo Reno 6 Pro. Translating this to screen-on times, the smartphone averaged between 5.5-7 hours. Comparing this to a competing smartphone like the Motorola Edge 20 Pro, the average screen-on time is about 30% less.
We think this battery life can be attributed to the way the smartphone performs. With it regularly heating up, battery drain becomes faster. And we sincerely hope Oppo looks to rectify this via a software update if possible because it affects not just performance but also battery life.
The good thing about the battery on the Oppo Reno 6 Pro though is battery charging. A 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 charging brick and cable is bundled with the smartphone that fully charges it in just 29 minutes. The convenience of being able to get to 50% in around 10-15 minutes somewhat makes up for the disappointing battery life.
Where we can't excuse Oppo is with the lack of wireless charging considering the pricing of this phone.
Should you buy the Oppo Reno 6 Pro?
Buy if it..
You want a versatile camera
The AI-powered quad-camera setup on the Oppo Reno 6 Pro is good for a lot of situations, especially the primary Sony IMX766 sensor. Combined with Oppo’s optimization algorithms, the setup is ideal for capturing low-light photos and videos.
You want a sleek design
Often, a lot of flagship smartphones come with bulk. But at 7.99mm and 188g, the Oppo Reno 6 Pro is extremely manageable in one-hand given its 20:9 form factor. Moreover, its textured ‘Reno Glow’ back adds extra grip and resists fingerprint accumulation.
You need fast charging
While the Oppo Reno 6 Pro may not have the strongest battery backup, it has the fastest recharging capabilities on any smartphone. The 4,500mAh battery goes from 0-100% in just 29 minutes.
Don't buy if...
You want a lag free experience
Despite the capable hardware on the Oppo Reno 6 Pro, its performance is not as consistent as we expected. We can only assume that further software optimization from Oppo fixes these issues in the next couple of months.
You want a bloat-free device
As great as Oppo’s Color OS 11.3 skin is on top of Android 11, it is not a stock Android experience. If that is your preference and you are used to, you may want to look at alternatives.
You want best value for money
As feature packed as the Oppo Reno 6 Pro is, it omits key elements like IP-certification and wireless charging. For its AED 2,999, these features should be present on a smartphone. Given the fiercely competitive market for smartphones hovering around this price bracket, it may be difficult sell for consumers.